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TFAW.com Learns All About Artist Victor Drujiniu

October 29th, 2010 Comments off

The Waking Victor DrujiniuOur final interview for our amazing Zenescope Month is with Romanian artist Victor Drujiniu, who recently completed The Waking. This dark, thrilling zombie tale explores the living dead–with an explosive twist! We asked Drujiniu about what attracted him to The Waking, how he started his career in art, and what’s coming up next:

TFAW.com: What’s your educational background–did you study art or are you self-taught?

Victor Drujiniu: Well, I kind of did both. I was self taught up until high school. Then I applied for the Arts High School in my home town: Saint George, Covasna district, Romania. But even there, most of the study was done individually, at home, based on what we were taught at school and depending on the level of interest each manifested. By then I was drawing from every comic that got into my hands.

After graduating high school as first graduate, I went to the Arts Faculty within the West State University of Timisoara, where I had the luck to meet a professor who shared the same interest for the figurative art and who helped a lot especially, where compositions are concerned.

TFAW.com: What do you like best about drawing comics?

VD: Everything. I like the fact that you must be able to practically draw everything in order to better illustrate what you want to “tell” through your drawings. I love to draw different human characters and their moods or emotions. I like drawing these realistic backgrounds based on photo references, to make the story more believable and reliable. Something the readers can relate to. But what makes comics even greater is that you get to draw both reality and fantasy; you can always use realistic elements and create new ones according to what suits the story better.

The Waking Preview Page 1TFAW.com: What sort of stories attract you? What types of stories do you feel suit your style the best?

VD: The stories that definitely attract me the most are the superhero stories. Which is understandable, considering I grew up reading them and drawing from them. But once I got into the industry I also started expanding my horizons, and I really found myself attracted to dramatic, noir, dark graphic novels too. And if they are superhero-based, that’s even better. :)

I couldn’t tell what types of stories suit me best. I just feel I can take on everything I’m assigned. The more genres, the better. Because there’s so much you can learn from every single experience.

TFAW.com: How did you come to work for Zenescope?

VD: Through my former agent: Romulo Suarez, from Lynx Studios. He was the person who helped me make my first steps in the industry, by introducing me to Raven Gregory at Zenescope.

TFAW.com: What do you think you’ve learned over the years from your various projects at Zenescope?

VD: Oh, I learned a lot. First of all these were my very first professional assignments/projects. That fact itself was a first lesson. I learned what making a comic is all about: starting with the reading and understanding of the script, the process of making the layouts and then transferring all that data onto the final pages. I learned what the harsh fight with the deadline is! This is a word you won’t escape for as long as you work in this field. So I definitely learned everything I needed to know in order to perform professionally in this line of work.

The Waking Preview Page 2TFAW.com: How did you get involved with The Waking?

VD: Well, it was Raven’s idea. Based on our previous collaborations he offered me the opportunity of working on this highly promoted project. The Waking was my first big project as a professional comic artist and I owe him a lot for that.

TFAW.com: How did you prepare to design the zombies? Did you check out any movies or comics?

VD: It was something new for me, as this kind of comics wasn’t exactly my type. If I saw zombies in comics prior to this, it was only if they appeared in one of the superhero comics I read. So I was both excited and afraid at first. But I did a little research on the Internet watching comics and shots from zombie movies, which was more than enough to help me decide how they were going to look through my eyes.

TFAW.com: There’s a huge uprising in zombie stories in pop culture lately. Why do you think people enjoy zombies so much?

VD: Well, I noticed that people are more and more attracted to the horror genre these days. May it be movies, or comics. And zombies are somehow iconic and very representative for this genre. People always wanted to know more about what happens after the physical death; most religions and cultures in the world share this common belief that there has to be something more after it. Zombies are just one representation of such belief. And Hollywood took great care in popularizing this cult. So it’s our fascination with the creature returned from the dead.

The Waking Preview Page 3TFAW.com: The Waking is a zombie story with a twist, however–these zombies are avenging their own murders. How did this affect your art, if at all?

VD: Actually, the twist of the story is what made me feel more comfortable about a genre I never thought I’d be drawing as a professional, prior to the project. Realizing that these weren’t your usual zombies woken from dead, wandering around the streets and terrorizing the city, helped me to better define their look. That’s why I went with a softer approach–if I may say so–and closer to their human form. These were victims! People who died violently from the hands of various kinds of murderers. So yes, it definitely had an influence on my art and rendering of the zombies.

TFAW.com: You had to cover a lot of ground with The Waking: beautiful women, adorable zombie children, and then the zombies themselves. How did you approach it?

VD: I simply took them one at the time. I gave each of them the attention needed when they needed it. It was a challenge, but I actually had fun and enjoyed having to draw such a variety of characters, from humans to zombies, children to grownups, and women to men. It was such a rich palette that no artist could have refused. Only instead of mixing colors, you were mixing all kinds of different characters and playing with them. And this was all Raven’s merit. The way he covered this variety of characters is extraordinary.

TFAW.com: Can you tell us about your process, when it comes to drawing interiors?

The Waking Preview Page 4VD: Well, I think it is very similar to other artists’ processes. Once you receive the script, you start making the layouts for every page and then send them to the editor. The batch of layouts comes back with the editor’s notes. After that you begin the process of getting to the finalized pages.

First I do a very thorough research for references on the Internet, starting from the characters and all the way to objects, backgrounds, and interiors. This is a very meticulous and both time- and patience-consuming process. I hope I’ll be able to pay an assistant to help me with this in the future, as it can cause issues where meeting the deadline is concerned.

Then I start putting the pieces together in Photoshop, just like in a puzzle. I use the right angled faces of the characters and the backgrounds, and collage them over the initial layout of the page. I print it and make the final page based on it, using the lightbox.

TFAW.com: You’ve got a great dark, brooding style. Has that style always called to you? Who are your influences?

VD: My style is the result of many years of practice and influences over the time. I used dark shadows ever since I started drawing my own characters, pages or pinups. But of course the way it looks has changed over the years. My first and very significant influences during middle school, but mainly during high school, were Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee and Dwayne Turner. But when I got into Faculty, I started expanding my horizons, exploiting and experimenting with my own style.

I started to discover and look up to a whole new type of artists; more naturalistic ones, such as Travis Charest, Alex Ross, Frank Cho and Adam Hughes. At the same time, Marvel launched their Ultimate titles and brought to my attention a few new artists that were decisive in establishing my style and taste: Brian Hitch, Stuart Immonen and the lately discovered talent that is Olivier Coipel. This way you made me enumerate not only my favorite artists, but the most important influences in my art. And I am still learning . . .

The Waking Preview Page 5TFAW.com: What do you think about, in terms of composition?

VD: I try to think of the page as a whole, regardless if it’s a splash page or if it has maybe 10 panels. I try to compose them into one whole that represents the final page. In doing so, I use some of the composition techniques I learned in school or saw on the above-mentioned artists, and of course improvisation, too. All these elements combined help me make the composition of a page.

TFAW.com: What was it like, working with Raven Gregory?

VD: Working with Raven has been a very pleasant experience, as well as a learning one. We clicked very well from the beginning of our collaboration and that made it easier along the way. We got along perfectly and kind of both knew what the other wanted or liked, thus making the working experience a very pleasant one. Raven was very helpful, open and understanding, not only regarding the project but generally. He helped me understand some things and learn from them. Overall, it was a great experience.

TFAW.com: Your portfolio has a multitude of different character pinups, including superheroes. What genres do you want to work on in the future?

VD: The answer lies within your question :) I definitely want to work on superhero titles. Both DC and Marvel have a multitude of heroes and teams I’d love to draw. But I’m open to any kind of projects or genres.

TFAW.com: What’s coming up that you’re most excited about?

VD: I just finished a tryout for XXXXXX, in order to take over starting XXXXXXXX. So for the moments, I am very excited at the thought that I might get to work on such a popular title.

We want to thank Victor for helping us close out Zenescope Month! Check out our preview of The Waking here, and pre-order the trade paperback today to save 20%.

Are you a fan of zombie stories? What do you think of Victor Drujiniu’s art? Post your comments below!

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Comic Book Reviews: Superman Earth One, Beasts of Burden/Hellboy & More

October 27th, 2010 Comments off

New Reviews of This Week’s Releases!

Happy Halloween! In honor of the upcoming holiday, we dressed up for this week’s comic book reviews–you’ll have to watch the video below to see our costumes, however! This week we review Superman: Earth One, Beasts of Burden/Hellboy, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home Ras Al Gul, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home Oracle, Avengers #6, Action Comics #894, Incognito: Bad Influences #1, Fantastic Four #584, Grimm Fairy Tales Halloween Special 2010, Mini Star Wars Monster Mashups, and the Dexter Bust.

Beasts of Burden Hellboy

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So, how’d you like our costumes? What are you dressing up as this year? Post your ideas below!

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Two New TFAW.com “Battle” Commercials–Which One Is Best?

October 26th, 2010 Comments off

Two New TFAW.com “Battle” Commercials!

You can probably just tell by watching below, but we had an awesome time filming our new commercials! We took a roomful of robots, ninjas, babes with blasters, barbarians, and more, and let them fight it out at our Hollywood Things From Another World store here in Portland, Oregon. We want to thank the members of The Alter Egos Society for bringing their creativity–and amazing costumes–to the shoot.

We’ve got two different versions–which one do you like best? Note: there’s a special “sparkly” guest at the end of each!

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So what do you think of our new commercials? Post your opinions below!

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TFAW Interviews Real-Life Monster Hunter John Paul Russ

October 25th, 2010 Comments off

Monster Hunters' Survival GuideEnter our Twitter contest to win a signed copy of Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide #1! Click to learn more.

Let’s face it: most people don’t believe monsters are real. We live in a world dominated by pop culture and technology, and while teenage girls may get all aflutter about the vampires in Twilight, most people do not actually believe monsters exist.

Well, do us a favor and put your skepticism aside before reading the following Zenescope Month interview. We had an exclusive opportunity to speak with John Paul Russ, who asserts he is a real-life monster hunter, much like his father before him. And he’s used his years of experience encountering real-life goblins and ghouls to create the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide, a book chock-full of techniques and strategies to protect yourself in the event of an attack by creatures like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and more! Illustrated by Anthony Spay, Shawn McCauley, and Andrew Mangum, this is a one-of-a-kind series you’ll want for your collection–whether you believe in monsters or not!

TFAW.com: Hi John Paul, thanks for answering some questions about the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide!

John Paul Russ: Sure.

Monster Hunters Survival Guide #1 Greg Horn Variant CoverTFAW.com: This seems like a really unusual series. Can you tell us what to expect?

JP: Expect a lot of interesting and relevant information on hunting monsters and surviving potential monster attacks. I’m covering everything from vampires to werewolves to zombies to the Loch Ness Monster. This will be a comprehensive and interesting guide with illustrations.

TFAW.com: What is the purpose of this series? Is it merely to inform readers about the different types of monsters, or will it really give them strategies to defend themselves?

JP: It’s definitely more geared toward confrontations with various types of monsters. It also will discuss popular myths versus the facts. I wanted to be informative enough where it would help out both amateur and seasoned hunters, as well as those who just have a curiosity about monsters.

TFAW.com: What types of monsters will be featured in each comic?

JP: The first issue deals with the undead like zombies, vampires, mummies, ghosts and more. In issue #2 we’re delving into cryptids such as Sasquatches and the mythical Krakens. Other issues will examine unnatural beasts like werewolves and giant creatures like killer catfish and anacondas.

TFAW.com: You’re a monster hunter yourself, in real life. How did you get started down that road?

Monster Hunters Survival Guide #2JP: My father was a hunter and taught me everything I know now. I was intrigued by it as a kid and started going on expeditions with him when I was 12 years old. So many people were skeptical of him and his encounters, but he was a modest man and never forced anything down anybody’s throat. He always said to me that people are not going to want to believe certain things and you can’t make them try and understand you. He hunted for himself and he found it extremely rewarding . . . as do I.

TFAW.com: We’ve all seen monster hunters in movies and on TV–how close are their experiences to yours?

JP: Not very. Once in a while there may be something out there that strikes a chord, but 99% of the time it’s BS. My niece had me watch Twilight with her last year and I didn’t realize it wasn’t supposed to be a comedy until just a couple months ago.

TFAW.com: When did you discover, for yourself, that these monsters are real?

JP: My father once brought home a baby chupacabra he had captured. I was only seven or eight at the time. Right then I knew there were strange and mysterious creatures in the world, creatures that few knew about. And that’s really when I knew I wanted to hunt like my father.

TFAW.com: Have you encountered all of the monsters you cover in the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide?

Monster Hunters Survival Guide #3JP: Not firsthand, but the community of monster hunters is larger than you would think. Most of the information in the book comes directly from my own personal experiences, but there were several times when I called on other hunters and their knowledge. They were happy to help but prefer to remain anonymous.

TFAW.com: What’s the scariest situation you’ve found yourself in with a monster?

JP: They’re all pretty damn scary. That’s why I’m writing this book. Believe me, you do not want to go up against a werewolf or a zombie without it. But if I had to choose one encounter over all the others, I would say it was the first time I encountered a vampire. Let me tell you this, the weakest real vampire makes those Twilight pretty boys look like Count Chocula.

TFAW.com: Do you hope to capture any alive?

JP: I’ve captured, and killed, plenty of monsters. but not in an effort to prove whether they exist or not. I do it to protect the general population, who more times than not scoff at their existence. There are many creatures, like Sasquatches, who are mainly docile and just want to be left alone. But there have been times when even a Sasquatch has gone rogue, and that’s why every aspiring monster hunter needs to know how to take one down. Unfortunately, encounters like that generally happen because humans are encroaching on their natural habitats.

Monster Hunters Survival Guide ZombieTFAW.com: Where do you think monsters come from? Have they always been here?

JP: Some of these species inhabited this planet well before humans. Look at it this way, dinosaurs could be considered monsters, but they just happened to go extinct prior to us (at least most of them did, see issue #3 for the ones that didn’t). There are various reasons monsters walk the earth. I have yet to uncover all of them, but I’m trying.

TFAW.com: Which monsters are the most dangerous, in your opinion?

JP: A Kraken can take take down a battle ship, but they rarely come to the surface, so attacks are few and far between. Vampires are extremely dangerous beings, as are werewolves. Zombies may be the most deadly. If left unchecked, a zombie outbreak could wipe out the entire human population, and that’s no bull. I heard Kirkman actually got his idea for The Walking Dead because he’s related to a monster hunter who told him how real and deadly they are. But I don’t know if that’s true or not. What I do know is that as long as there are monsters out there, us hunters will hold vigil for our fellow man.

TFAW.com: Why do monsters attack humans? Is there anything we can do to avoid such attacks?

Monster Hunters Survival Guide PoltergeistJP: There are so many reasons, and I’ll cover those in my issues. Some are very aggressive and some are much less so. Some want to eat you, some want to turn you, and some just want to be left alone. Each type has its own agenda and intelligence level, that’s for sure.

TFAW.com: What do you say to people who are skeptical that monsters really do exist?

JP: I say to each their own, but don’t come crying to me if you’re attacked and unprepared . . . although at that point you’re likely not breathing anymore.

TFAW.com: Did you advise any of the artists for the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide?

JP: [I told them] don’t turn this into a damn cartoon.

TFAW.com: How many issues will the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide be?

Monster Hunters Survival Guide Zombie HeadJP: It’s five issues. And it’s very informative. I have to say, the artists (Anthony Spay, Shawn McCauley, and Andrew Mangum) did a really nice job on this book and I’m happy with their choices.

TFAW.com: What made you choose Zenescope as your publisher?

JP: They’re the best for what I wanted to do. Joe and Ralph understood my vision and supported me from day one. In my humble opinion these guys have set the tone for horror and supernatural comics over just the four or five years they’ve been publishing. Zenescope is one of those companies that feels like it’s been around forever, but hasn’t. That’s because they are so good at setting themselves apart from all the others, and that’s how I am. It’s why I knew we’d be a good fit.

TFAW.com: What other projects do you have coming down the road?

JP: A couple of networks have approached me about doing some reality stuff. I’m not completely against it, but it would need to be done right. I’m not a fraud like most of the other “reality” people out there now. I’m just not sure the world is ready to witness what I do just yet.

Do you believe in monsters? Order the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide today and judge for yourself! Plus, you can still save 20% if you order now.

What’s better than owning the whole series? Winning a copy of the Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide #1 signed by John Paul Russ himself! Enter our Monster Hunters’ Survival Guide Twitter Contest now through 10/27 to enter to win one of 25 copies.

ENTER TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF MONSTER HUNTERS’ SURVIVAL GUIDE

Have you ever encountered a real-life monster? Post your comments below!

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6th Annual Portland Zombie Walk & Thrill the World Portland 10/23

October 22nd, 2010 2 comments

Portland Zombie Walk 2010It’s time, O Great Zombie Horde of Portlandia! The 6th Annual Portland Zombie Walk and the 4th Annual Thrill the World Portland is this Saturday, October 23, at Pioneer Courthouse Square at 701 SW Sixth Avenue, Portland, Oregon. Get your most horrifying zombie garb and head downtown to join in the gory fun!

Here’s the schedule:

3:30 p.m.: Show up, mingle with your fellow zombies, pose for photos–the living love taking pictures of zombies, as much as the unliving love eating brains. One request: There will be Portland Zombie Walk volunteers keeping an area clear for the dancers. Please be respectful, and move if asked!

4 p.m.: Thrill the World Portland performs the “Thriller” dance simultaneously with other Thrill the World groups around . . . well, the world (in case that wasn’t obvious).

After the Thriller Dance: THE ZOMBIE WALK BEGINS!!! Immediately following Thrill the World Portland’s performance, the Great Zombie Horde of Portlandia will take to the streets, shambling, shuffling, groaning, and wailing. Check out the Portland Zombie Walk Facebook event page here!

Both the PZW organizers and volunteers, and the Thrill the World Portland organizers ask that you read and follow the general rules of the Zombie Walk. In short, it boils down to be nice to people and don’t destroy things.

Have you participated in the Portland Zombie Walk in the past? What’s your favorite part? Post your comments below!

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Comic Book Reviews: Walking Dead, True Blood, Loki, Kick Ass, Hulk

October 20th, 2010 Comments off

New Reviews of This Week’s Releases!

Time for your weekly dose of comic book reviews! We’re about a week and a half from Halloween, but we’re reviewing a few creepy comics, including The Walking Dead #78, True Blood #4, and the DCU Halloween Special. Tune in and you’ll also hear what we think about Brightest Day #12, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home Catwoman, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home Commissioner Gordon, Grimm Fairy Tales TPB Vol. 8, Hulk #26, Stan Lee Soldier Zero #1, Chaos War #2, Kick Ass 2 Balls to the Wall #1 , Loki #1, and Daredevil #511.

Hulk #26

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We experimented with a new, shorter format for our videos–what do you think? Should we go back to in-depth reviews, or do you prefer quick recaps? Post your opinions below!

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Comic Book Reviews: Walking Dead, True Blood, Loki, Kick Ass, Hulk

October 20th, 2010 Comments off

New Reviews of This Week’s Releases!

Time for your weekly dose of comic book reviews! We’re about a week and a half from Halloween, but we’re reviewing a few creepy comics, including The Walking Dead #78, True Blood #4, and the DCU Halloween Special. Tune in and you’ll also hear what we think about Brightest Day #12, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home Catwoman, Bruce Wayne: The Road Home Commissioner Gordon, Grimm Fairy Tales TPB Vol. 8, Hulk #26, Stan Lee Soldier Zero #1, Chaos War #2, Kick Ass 2 Balls to the Wall #1 , Loki #1, and Daredevil #511.

Hulk #26

CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S ARRIVALS

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

We experimented with a new, shorter format for our videos–what do you think? Should we go back to in-depth reviews, or do you prefer quick recaps? Post your opinions below!

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Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson Honored at Governors’ Gold Awards

October 20th, 2010 Comments off

Mike Richardson and John Landis at the Governors’ Gold Awards

Present and former Oregon Governors Ted Kulongowski, John Kitzhaber, Barbara Roberts, and Victor Atiyeh gathered together to honor prominent Oregon citizens and businesses with the prestigious Governors’ Gold Awards at the Oregon Convention Center earlier this month. Recipients included Dark Horse Comics founder and President Mike Richardson, who received the award from Kitzhaber and his longtime friend, director John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Psych).

The organizers of the event smartly saved Richardson’s award to the end of the evening, as Landis entertained the crowd with hilarious stories of how every university he approached as the setting of Animal House turned him down, until President William P. Boyd agreed to let him use the University of Oregon–without even reading the script (turns out a few years back, Boyd turned down a little movie called The Graduate, and didn’t want to repeat his mistake). He also told quite the raucous pickle joke, but you’re going to have to watch it to fully appreciate it.

Richardson was charming and gracious, relating the story of how, 30 years ago, when learning his wife was pregnant, he immediately quit his job and moved them to Bend to start a comic book store. He also shared a little about Dark Horse’s future in digital publishing:

Dark Horse Comics

The 2010 Governors’ Gold Awards was also a benefit for the Special Olympics. Other honorees included Terry Aarnio of Oregon Iron Works, Inc., Jim Berneau of Willamette Valley Vineyards, Brian J. Druker, M.D., of OHSU, Mike Keiser and Hank Hickox of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, and Allyn C. Ford, Ronald C. Parker, and Norman J. Smith of The Ford Family Foundation.

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Can you believe how tall Mike Richardson is (he towered over Kitzhaber)? Did you guess the punchline to the infamous pickle joke? Post your comments below!

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Wonder Woman Day V to Benefit Domestic Violence Programs

October 19th, 2010 Comments off

Wonder Woman Day VNot only is October National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but Portland’s Mayor, Sam Adams, has officially declared October 24 to be “Wonder Woman Day” in the City of Roses! Now you can help protect others against domestic violence at Wonder Woman Day V, produced by best-selling author and DVD documentary director Andy Mangels.

In Portland, Excalibur Books & Comics will host the fifth and final Wonder Woman Day on Sunday, October 24 from noon to 6 p.m. This free all-ages event will include local and national artists signing comics and special-edition prints, as well as a silent auction of original art contributed by more than 200 of the world’s top artists. There will be costumed superheroes and science fiction characters on-site, raffles and prizes, rare memorabilia, a karaoke tent, and more. The Portland event will benefit Bradley Angle, one of Portland’s leading domestic violence agencies, as well as multiple domestic violence programs throughout the area.

Additionally, a second Wonder Woman Day benefit will take place October 24 in Flemington, NJ, at Comic Fusion benefiting SAFE in Hunterdon, a domestic violence shelter in New Jersey.

Almost 300 pieces of original artwork will be auctioned between the two Wonder Woman Day events, including pieces by Aaron Lopresti, Adam Hughes, Alex Ross, Ben Caldwell, Jaime Hernandez, Steve Lieber, Phil Jimenez, and more! All art is posted to view at the event and at WonderWomanMuseum.com.

This year, the Wonder Woman Day event will feature an online component as well, as multiple items from the Portland art auction will be concurrently available on eBay. “One-hundred percent of the proceeds from the art auctions and other activities during Wonder Woman Day go to the domestic violence programs,” Mangels stresses. “To date, over $89,000 has been raised; we hope this year to break the $100,000 barrier and show our communities that heroes do live among us.”

Wonder Woman by Alex RossWonder Woman Family by Jaime HernandezWonder Woman by Steve Lieber

Signers at the Portland event include Matt Wagner (Grendel, Green Hornet Year One), Ron Randall (Doom Patrol, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire), Anne Timmons (Go Girl!), Rich Ellis (Periscope Studio), Natalie Nourigat (Random Production), Dane Ault (Monkey Minion Press), Emi Lenox (Emitown), and Steve Dorris (Gator Grafx). Other prominent geek organizations at the event will include the PDX Browncoats, the cast of Trek in the Park, The Alter Egos Society, PDX YAR, and Cloud City Garrison of the 501st Stormtroopers! Plus, there will be outdoor karaoke with Good Time Karaoke.

If you’re in the Portland area, be sure to come on down and have a good time for a great cause!

Have you been to previous Wonder Woman Days? Are you coveting a particular piece of art? Post your comments below!

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Raven Gregory Talks Charmed, The Waking, GFT & More

October 18th, 2010 Comments off

Raven Gregory Zenescope EntertainmentZenescope Month is in full swing, and we’re starting off the week with an exclusive interview with Raven Gregory, one of Zenescope’s most inventive and productive writers. Here, he gives us the scoop on Charmed, explains the origins behind The Waking, and tells us what’s in store for Grimm Fairy Tales!

TFAW.com: Hi Raven, thanks for taking some time out of your schedule for us.

Raven Gregory: Hey guys. Thanks for having me.

TFAW.com: How did you start writing for comics? What inspired you?

RG: It’s actually a pretty silly story. Me and some buddies were hanging out drinking and my pal said we should create a comic. I went home that night and began writing The Gift. Ten years later here I am. I had always been a huge fan of comics and had always loved writing, so it was serendipity that the two found each other.

TFAW.com: When did you start writing for Zenescope? What was your first story?

Se7en Gluttony Raven GregoryRG: The first book I wrote for them was Se7en: Gluttony sometime back in 2006 or ’07. I had met them at some conventions on the circuit and saw a press release about them publishing Final Destination. I wrote them and with no ego at all told them I was born to write that book. They responded back and told me it was already written but asked if I’d be interested in writing the prequel to the movie Se7en which is one of my favorite movies of all time. That book led to Wonderland and so on and so on.

TFAW.com: You are definitely one of the most prolific writers Zenescope has, with Charmed, Grimm Fairy Tales, The Waking, and Wonderland on your plate. How do you handle writing so many titles at once?

RG: It’s actually a little magic trick I’ve managed to pull off. I’m a pretty fast writer, and when I have to get a script done I can get one done in a day or two. I’m very lucky in having the feedback from both Joe and Ralph in keeping me from sucking more than I would, given that I don’t enjoy writing fast unless the story is just flowing. But in most cases, like with The Waking and a few of the other stories, they’ve been done years or months in advance, giving me plenty of time to polish them–but when they actually come out, they all come out at the same time.

Next year is going to be even more insane, as it’s going to look as if I am writing anywhere between four to nine books per month. I’m not even exaggerating here. Lucky for me most of these stories are already done.

TFAW.com: The Charmed comics have been hugely successful–there are a lot of happy fans out there. How did you prepare to launch the series?

Charmed Comics ZenescopeRG: We really tried our best to get the word out to all the Charmed fans out there. The actresses themselves were cool enough to tweet about the series on their Twitters and I think that helped a lot. But mostly it was just getting the word out. The rest was the fact that Charmed fans themselves passionately love the series, so it was a pretty easy sell to get fans to come back and follow the adventures of their favorite witches.

TFAW.com: Were you a Charmed fan before you signed on as co-writer?

RG: Of course. But I really didn’t have a choice in the matter. My wife watched the show faithfully, and after a while I had no choice but to watch. I really enjoy that beyond the powers and monsters and demons it really is a story about family, and that’s what gets the writer in me.

TFAW.com: What can you tell us about Charmed #4?

RG: HE’S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TFAW.com: What has it been like collaborating with first-time comic book writer Paul Ruditis?

RG: It was a lot of fun. We didn’t always agree on where the story should go, but everything that came out of those discussions led to a better product in the end. Paul’s on his own now, but I still love what he’s doing on the series.

The Waking Raven GregoryTFAW.com: Do you have a favorite sister or character?

RG: It’s a toss-up between Phoebe and Prue.

TFAW.com: Will Prue come back? Tell us!

RG: Prue? That’s not a name I’m familiar with. :)

TFAW.com: With The Waking, you added a new twist to the zombie genre: the zombies are people who were murdered, back to get revenge on their killers. What prompted that idea?

RG: I’ve always been a big fan of the old EC horror comics and shows like the Twilight Zone, and it just felt like the original premise of the killer zombie had gotten lost once Romero sunk his teeth into the genre. So it was a mix of my love for the old horror comics, where zombies were a vehicle of revenge, mixed in with my love for CSI . . . another show that my wife watches endlessly that I have also fallen in love with.

TFAW.com: While this is a horror comic, there’s a huge focus on the power of love–can you elaborate on that?

RG: For me, I think, my best writing comes from dealing with personal issues. One of those, as a parent, is losing my kids. So taking the idea of a parent who loves their child so much and just can’t let go, to the point where their hatred for the person who has taken their child from them actually becomes the embodiment of death given life was a story that I just had to tell.

TFAW.com: At the end, not to spoil anything, but you seemed to leave things open for a sequel. Is that in the works?

Grimm Fairy Tales Halloween Special 2010RG: I was asked this question over and over again and I always said no, that’s it. The story is done and I wrote it in a way that it’s open but still pretty clear cut and closed. But I met a fan at one show who said something that made me realize that maybe the story isn’t over. There’s a germ of something out there but for now it’s not at the forefront of my mind. But . . . you never know.

TFAW.com: With The Walking Dead and the Zombie Survival Guide, there’s a big focus on zombies right now. What do you think of the genre as a whole?

RG: It’s in a better place than it’s been in years. No longer is it the same-old same-old. Now it’s all about finding the new twist and raising the bar on what a zombie story can be, and I think that’s just great for creators and readers alike.

TFAW.com: The Grimm Fairy Tales Halloween Special 2010 is coming out soon, and it looks like it’s going to involve vampires. How do vampires fit in the GFT universe?

RG: Anything I say here will be a spoiler, but I will say that we have a lot of fun in the story giving cosplayers a shout-out, as well as taking a stand that vampires should not glitter. :)

TFAW.com: Is this a Twilight parody? What do you think of Twilight mania?

RG: You ever play that game who would win in a fight? Try that with vampires and see where the Twilight vamps end up on the totem pole. But, again, with that said, I get why the story is so popular . . . because my wife made me see them. :)

Wonderland Raven GregoryTFAW.com: The Wonderland series has had some epic stories involving Alice Liddle and her daughter, Calie. Will future stories still center around the Liddles?

RG: Most of the current stories we’re doing now focus on the origins of the Wonderland characters themselves or victims of the looking-glass mirror, but . . . there may be one or two stories left that tell the story of Calie . . . and her daughter Violet.

TFAW.com: You’ve taken a lot of childhood favorites and added an adult sensibility with both sex and violence. What’s the reaction been?

RG: It’s like anything else. Some people love it. Some . . . not so much.

TFAW.com: What other types of stories would you like to tell?

RG: I want to tell a kids story. Something I could give my daughter to read. Maybe one day when scheduling isn’t so hectic. Also want to do a straight comedy, as it’s my weakest strength.

TFAW.com: What upcoming projects are you most excited about?

RG: Grimm Fairy Tales Myths and Legends is going to be huge. We’re bringing back Red Riding Hood in a big big way, and setting up the GFT universe in a way that I think will have people talking for some time to come.

Our thanks go out to Raven for a great interview! Make sure to check out all of Raven Gregory’s comics and graphic novels, including The Waking, Charmed, Wonderland, and Grimm Fairy Tales!

Do you think Prue will be back? What do you think about Zenescope Month thus far? Which comic book publisher should be cover next? Post your comments below!

READ OUR PAST INTERVIEW WITH RAVEN GREGORY

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